Media coverage

Marketplace: Private equity money changed the housing market, then the pandemic hit

October 4, 2021

Marketplace reported on the growing concern about the influence of big corporate landlords in the U.S. housing market.

Marketplace, September 29, 2021: Private equity money changed the housing market, then the pandemic hit

While most of the country’s rental units “are under some sort of corporate ownership,” most people are worried about the increase of private equity money in the housing market from Wall Street firms, said urban economics and housing policy expert and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program Jenny Schuetz. Schuetz told Marketplace:

“They’re more likely either to buy something that’s going to have quick appreciation and sell it or something that’s going to have higher than usual returns.”

Georgia State University urban studies professor Dan Immergluck quoted alarming figures, sharing with Marketplace that “in some suburban neighborhoods, the share of the largest private equity firms is often 10%, 15%, 20%.”

Marketplace cited research by the Private Equity Stakeholder Project and spoke with PESP Executive Director Jim Baker who explained how private equity ownership of rental housing can pose challenges for renters, including how firms are often quick to file evictions:

“It’s almost mechanical. They just automatically file, in some cases, hundreds of eviction filings.”

Private equity ownership of this housing “comes with being aggressive at raising rents, being aggressive about eviction practices.”

The complicated business ownership structures make it difficult for tenants to respond, Baker added.

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